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[Thread] For #HolocaustRemembranceDay, #YomHashoah2019, #HolocaustRemembranceWeek

Perhaps my greatest inspiration from the #Holocaust: Janusz Korczak. Learn more below.
Janusz Korczak (the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit) was a Jew born in 1878 in Warsaw. He earned his medical degree in pediatrics from @UniWarszawski and was renowned for his work with children, particularly in establishing orphanages. This is one of his orphanages, Krochmalna St.
His love for children was recounted by one of his former students.
He was also a prolific writer and child advocate. His book "The Child's Right to Respect" published in 1929 was before its time in stressing children's rights. He expressed his rejection of corporal punishment for example stating:
Korczak listed his rights for children here and was quite forward-thinking in that regard.

Korczak served as a doctor in Russian and Polish Armies. He also volunteered to serve again in 1939 but was rejected due to his age.
When the Nazis arrived, Janusz was forced to move, along with his orphanage into the Warsaw ghetto. He cared for 200 children in his Orphans' Home in the ghetto. Here is an excerpt (from amazon.com/Holocaust-East… ) on his work there.
Naturally conditions for children, particularly orphans, in the ghetto were desperate, but Korczak and his staff worked tirelessly to mitigate the suffering of these, the most vulnerable of ghetto inhabitants.
In the summer of 1942, deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka intensified. In July, the head of the Jewish council, Adam Czerniakow, received notice that ALL Jews would be "resettled," including children. He was denied an exemption for Korczak's orphanage.
On 23 July, Czerniakow took cyanide, leaving a note reading: "They demand me to kill children of my nation with my own hands. I have nothing to do but to die."
Deportations then began in earnest. Jews were loaded in railcars for deportation to the gas chambers in Treblinka.
Ca. two weeks later, Korczak received word that his orphanage was on the list for transport. Given his prominence, multiple Poles reached out, offering to help him escape the ghetto and to hide him on the Aryan side in Warsaw. Korczak refused.
On August 5, 1942, Korczak and his staff dressed the children in the best clothes and he told them they were going on a field trip to the countryside. He wanted to spare them as much as possible from the terror that was fast approaching.
This march of the children was so extraordinary that multiple ghetto survivors remember it and can even reconstruct the path it took.
One eyewitness remembered, "It was a march of
a kind that had never taken place before. All the children were formed in
fours, with Korczak at their head, and with his eyes directed upward he held
two children by their tiny hands, leading the procession.”
Jewish historian (and ghetto inhabitant) Emanuel Ringelblum recorded that: “This was not a march to the railway cars - this was an organised,
wordless protest against the murder.”
Janusz and his nurses boarded the trains at the Umschlagplatz (loading area) with their children. They probably had to wait several hours there before getting on a train.
This is the last known image of Korczak.
Korczak and his children likely arrived at the Treblinka extermination center on August 7, 1942. We do not know much else about them after this point. They would have been sorted on the ramp and moved into the lower camp.
Then, perhaps with Korczak still among them, they would have been driven through the "tube" to the gas chambers, fed with carbon monoxide from a tank or submarine engine. After death, other prisoners would have been forced to burn their bodies.
Between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews were murdered there. The commandant was Franz Stangl. He claimed not to have been in the camp when the children arrived. Years later, in prison, he received one of Korczak's books, though, which "left him a badly shaken man" according to Sereny.
The Treblinka camp was destroyed by the Nazis. All the remains is a monument of stones listing communities murdered there. The only individual identified by name is...Janusz Korczak.
This is the story of one of the only surviving orphans that knew Korczak.

I am always struck as both an historian, but more so after I became a father, but Korczak's heroism and his deep love for children who had no one else in the world. He was willing to die in order to protect them from fear as long as he could. A truer hero, I cannot imagine.
Władisław Szlengel, a poet in the Warsaw ghetto, described Korczak in a poem writing:

"He was the only proud soldier
Janusz Korzcak, the orphan’s guardian."
For more, see:

Ghetto Diary by Janusz Korczak amazon.com/dp/0300097425/… via @amazon
When I Am Little Again and The Child's Right to Respect by Janusz Korczak amazon.com/dp/0819183075/… via @amazon
How to Love a Child: And Other Selected Works Volume 1 by Janusz Korczak amazon.com/dp/191038397X/… via @amazon
King of Children: A Biography of Janusz Korczak by Betty Jean Lifton amazon.com/dp/0374181241/… via @amazon
Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience by Gitta Sereny amazon.com/dp/0394710355/… via @amazon
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